Corn futures ended higher on Friday. The market was supported by the strong gains in soybeans that were driven by forecasts for a warmer and drier trend in Argentina next week. Improved export demand the past few weeks was also supportive. However, gains were limited by weakness in crude oil futures and expectations that USDA will raise the corn ending stocks estimate next week. March closed 6 cents higher at $3.77 1/4 and May was 6 cents higher at $3.87 1/2.



Soybean futures closed with strong gains on Friday. Forecasts for a drier weather pattern to develop in Argentina pushed prices higher. USDA will release new supply/demand estimates next week. South American soybean production estimates are expected to decline, but traders will be watching to see how far. Weakness in the dollar index was also bullish for export demand. March ended 21 cents higher at $10.01 and May closed 22 3/4 cents higher at $10.06.



Wheat futures closed lower on Friday. Profit-taking from recent gains was driven by forecasts for beneficial rainfall in the southern Plains this weekend and early next week. China drought had also become a market concern, but they are forecast to get some rain as well. Losses were limited by weakness in the dollar and strength in corn and soybeans. CBOT March fell 4 3/4 cents to $5.57, KCBT March was 3 1/2 cents lower at $5.86 1/2 and MGE March closed 1 cent lower at $6.54 3/4.



Cattle futures settled slightly higher on Friday. Strength in the stock market and expectations for a firm cash market this week supported futures. Light cash trade has developed in the North at $1-$2 higher than last week. Traders were waiting for southern Plains trade, looking for steady to firm prices with the $82 last week. Declining beef prices limited gains. Choice cutouts were down another $1.87 at midday. April closed 20 cents higher at $86.70 and June was 3 cents higher at $84.08.



Lean hog futures closed higher on Friday. The futures market was lower most of the session, but short-covering ahead of the weekend helped rally the market from technically oversold conditions. Several contracts hit new lows this week amid declining cash markets and poor packer margins. April was 15 cents higher at $60.40 and June was 43 cents higher at $72.95.